Your website is likely the first point of contact a potential customer will have with your business. In a way, a company website takes over the job of your body language during a face-to-face meeting.
Where your facial expression and posture will determine the strength of your first impression in the real world, the ease of use, design, and overall user experience on your website determine it online.
Your site serves as a pivotal step in a long journey to conversion, and you should do everything in your power to improve user experience and make it enjoyable for visitors.
So how do you create a site that sticks in the memory of every person who visits? You craft memorable user experiences.
We're not just talking about design, either. User experience covers many different aspects that spring up along your customer journey, including things like content and community size. Focusing on three areas will never fail you: ease of use, community, and site content.
While user experience trends ebb and flow, those three aspects of your site will always factor significantly in its success.
There are some user experience tweaks you can make that will improve the overall journey for your leads and potential customers, no matter the current trends or changes.
Here are three simple ways to improve user experience today.
#1 Improve Your Website
When most people think of user experience, they think of website design and functionality. Improving design and flow is a great place to start. Following are a few key ways you can adjust the overall feel and flow of your website.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
With mobile taking over in nearly every step on the customer journey, it's more important than ever to create a clean, scrollable, responsive web design. That means content that scales correctly, images that are responsive and adjust to screen size, and margins that are clean.
Easy navigation is not only great for your users but essential for SEO. Google dings sites that are tough to navigate on a phone or tablet. And it makes sense. Most people will give up on your clunky site on mobile even if they find you.
Whitespace for the Win
For both mobile and desktop user experience, negative space is your prize. Negative space, or whitespace, refers to the space around the elements on your page. This aspect of user design is one that shouldn't be neglected. If you've ever been on a cramped, jam-packed website, you know the difficulty of trying to find what you need.
The trend of filling every page to the brim with design, text, and ads is (thankfully) falling to the wayside. The small size of most phone screens makes clean design the best option.
Increasing the whitespace on your site will also improve readability, content prioritization, and the consistency of each page. Easy navigation is a part of user experience design that helps lower your bounce rate and keep your conversions high.
Every page of your site should be optimized. That means keyword optimization for SEO, image and search optimization, and anything else that's important to your business. Keep information up to date, especially on your contact and about pages.
When it comes to mobile specifically, concentrate on giving visitors the best overall experience (that's responsive), and you'll do just fine.
Another significant aspect of user-friendly design has to do with links and linking in general. Plugins like Pretty Links can improve your user experience by providing more attractive, branded links.
#2 Improve Your Community
Community is a critical part of any growing business, and it doesn't always have to do with forums. Think of how your readers and customers interact with your business.
Think Small, Build Big
There's plenty of noise to sift through online, and giving people a filter boosts user experience like nothing else.
The rise of micro-communities is only increasing. Many people are seeking more personal connections than that of massive networks like Twitter and Instagram. This shift in perspective gives you the perfect opportunity to create a network of learners and teachers on your website. Micro-communities that you build and nurture create the best experience for your users.
Trends are changing in the user experience world, and it's time to build your sounding board. People are looking for inspiration, and inspiration comes to life in a community. Kat Vellos, the Senior Product Designer at Slack, was quoted as saying:
“Smaller groups make it easier for participants to build psychological safety with each other. That's much harder to do in a large room with hundreds or thousands of people. Psychological safety is the most important thing for getting people to trust each other and gel, and small groups/events will always be able to provide this in a more manageable way than humongous conferences.”
Humans naturally seek out like-minds, so make sure your communities fill a niche, and the people will come!
As the social landscape grows, it's easy to forget that you need to ask to receive. Keep your calls to action (CTAs) flowing! If your site has comments enabled, be sure to ask what your readers think about your content.
If you have a group on a social network, ask people what they think about relevant current events. If you have ebooks or other content, don't forget to include a survey or ways for your readers to reach you and give feedback.
Membership website owners should be especially concerned with how their community thrives and connects. Many WordPress plugins, including MemberPress, can help you create intimate, authentic spaces for your users.
In short, give users a small community to make a big impact within, and they'll build on their own.
#3 Improve Your Content
User experience is not just about design and community. It's also about how you interact with your site visitors and what you offer when they get to you. Give your site visitors a sense of your intentions with the types of content you offer.
Keep Your Business in Your Content
While it makes sense to branch out, it's essential to make sure your site visitors get a sense of what your business is from your content. They should come away with a general idea of what your business does, how your business can help them, and what your content is trying to say about those things.
On top of keeping your business in your content, it's essential to craft content with a focus and goal in mind. You should know what every piece of content does for your company.
Are you writing to attract more clients? Are you writing content to build a readership? What aspect of the customer journey is touched on by what you're offering? How can you improve on it at every level?
Focusing doesn't mean writing about your business alone. There's value in branching out and covering a variety of topics that might be important to your audience. However, you should try your best to stay within an arch of themes that suit your business in some way.
Write About What You Love
You can easily woo an audience through all the noise and traffic by sticking to topics you know well. No one wants to open an email packed with ill-informed nonsense. Stick to videos, articles, blogs, newsletters, and more that represent your expertise.
Bonus: Consistent Branding
Shortening your links is an easy way to clean up your blogs and social posts. Pretty Links helps you tie your branding together with branded links. It also enables you to improve the value of your links and improve your overall SEO and user experience.
If you keep these tips in mind, your user experience and customer journey will be at its best. Remember, we're living in an age of abundance. But you can stand out with web design, communities, and content that directly embrace effortless user experience.
Have your own advice on how to improve user experience? Let us know in the comments!